The 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival has a slimmer queer roster than usual, but the offerings randomly selected by the unjuried, uncensored festival’s lottery system certainly live up to this year’s theme of celebrating difference.
Here are four suggestions for queer shows not to miss at the 2015 Fringe Fest:
Top queer pick
Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets
Ever wonder what was really going on in that tub with the Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker? Actor and puppeteer Adam Proulx takes the children’s nursery rhyme and gives it an adult makeover in his one-man show Baker’s Dozen: 12 Angry Puppets.
Finding himself on trial for the murder of his husband the Baker, the Butcher must face a jury of his peers, all created from a single puppet.
“I use a blank puppet to create the different characters with various noses, eyes and wigs,” says the 27-year old Proulx from his home in Toronto.
Originally inspired by an old Jim Henson video in which the Muppet creator similarly creates a variety of characters from a lone puppet, Proulx honed his puppetry skills as a member of the original Canadian company of Avenue Q.
While he may forgo the puppet-on-puppet sex that made that particular musical so irreverent, Proulx doesn’t shy away from some very contemporary and grown-up themes, including polyamory and open relationships as they pertain to the three men in his tub.
Proulx also delves into a conversation about our justice system. “It is about prejudice, first impressions and how being ‘other’ affects you in the legal system,” he says.
Presented as a series of monologues by the puppet jury he creates, Proulx’s use of the nursery rhyme in Baker’s Dozen gives audiences something they can instantly relate to. “It is a good starting point for the show because it is something most people will immediately recognize,” he says. “From there I mess with it, and explore more adult ideas.”
Three more queer shows to consider:
In A Weekend Near Madison, gender and politics are explored as Vanessa arrives with her lesbian lover for a weekend visit with college friends and her male ex-lover. As Vanessa asks her ex to be the father of their child, the friends navigate the chasm that has opened up between men and women.
Toronto indie musician Gentleman Reg transforms into his alter ego Regina the Gentlelady for the one-woman cabaret Do I Have To Do Everything My Fucking Self? A mix of comedy-based storytelling interspersed with songs, the night promises laughs, songs and high-kicks.
According to astrologers it takes 29 years for Saturn to make its orbit around the sun to the exact position at the time of our birth. In Saturn Returns, that nearly three-decade cycle takes on significance as it reflects the chapters of nine women as they face adulthood, menopause and the golden years, while exploring questions around career, morals, relationships and sexual identity.
Vancouver Fringe Festival
Runs Sept 10–20, 2015 at various venues
Visit vancouverfringe.com for more information